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Are There Really Alligators In the Sewers?

Alligators Photo credit: Janet Landry Borden

Sewers are dark and scary places - common resting spots for some of the most unbecoming things. Trash, rats, sewage, and who knows what else lurk under the streets in the Big Apple. But alligators? Can you see them anywhere other than an Everglades airboat tour? Are there really reptiles living beneath one of the most exciting cities in the world? If you’ve ever wondered if the urban legend is true, here’s some information that may surprise you.

So the Story Goes…

Sightings of alligators in the New York sewer system were rampant in the 1930s and 40s when countless residents made claims that they came face-to-face with the voracious reptile. The story is that wealthy New York families visiting Florida would purchase baby gators as pets. Soon after, when the novelty wore off and the gator started to demand more food, they were disposed of through the family toilet. Banished into the sewer system, abandoned gators had no other choice but to find food and survive underneath the city, lurking in the shadows of the sewer system. Since the 1930s, multiple sightings have been reported in various newspapers throughout the city - some highly credible. In 1932, the New York Times ran a piece on a gator sighting in the Bronx and another a few years later in East Harlem.

Embracing the Gator-Drama: Is It Really Based In Reality?

Believe it or not, the city of New York embraces the gator drama, even going as far as to dedicate February 9th as “Alligators in the Sewers Day”. A tradition that for the past four years finds folks celebrating with enthusiasm and excitement, the idea of gators in the city isn’t make-believe at all to many. Astonishingly, there is some evidence to suggest that the myth may have a strong basis in reality. For instance, it’s a well-known fact that some reptiles do indeed live in modern New York sewers. Snapping turtle sightings have been verified and are well documented. In fact, in 2006, lawmakers actually designated the snapping turtle the official state animal. Really!

The Real Deal: Alligators Do Exist In the Florida Everglades

While the truthfulness of sewer gators may be up for debate, there is one place where there is no question about the existence of alligators - the Florida Everglades. Whether you live in New York or you’re a long-time resident of the sunshine state, there’s simply no substitute for seeing the real thing. Families, photographers, artists, and anyone interested in witnessing the American alligator up close and personal take delight in visiting the Everglades. Take an exciting Everglades tour across miles of open wetland, enjoy an exciting live alligator show and spend the day marveling at gators, wading birds, tropical snakes and more. It may not be as fast-paced or trendy as New York City, but I’ll bet the gators in the Florida Everglades are more than happy to call the wetlands home.

Conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours & Rides is a family fun destination and home to Gator Boys Alligator Rescue from Animal Planet’s hit show – Gator Boys! There’s only one Everglades, and only one way to see it! Visit us today for your Miami airboat tours !

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